Feb 282014

(In this post Austin Weber reviews the debut album by Artificial Brain.)

Most mentions of Artificial Brain focus principally on the fact that Revocation guitarist Dan Gargiulo is in in the band and that it’s his group. From what I’ve read in interviews it would seem he helped found it, and he no doubt writes a lot of the music. However, I feel that writing about Artificial Brain from this angle could be a disservice to the highly talented efforts of the other band members. As a group Artificial Brain offer an odd mix of old school and new school death metal shot through with alien black metal, and the way they make it all come together is frequently surprising and varied. They have enough different flavors to interest a wide range of fans as they touch on straight-up brutal, ambient and atmospherically focused, technical, and grimly dissonant jaunts — often within the same song.

If other black/death is a grim peering into hell, then Artificial Brain is the work of Lovecraftian monsters peering out from unearthly realms — ready and willing to inflict horror on the cosmos. Labyrinth Constellation is truly unsettling, and its monstrous, cold depths echo the band’s space themes eloquently.

Feb 282014


(Austin Weber returns with another collection of recommended music, this time featuring seven(!) bands.)

Some are of the opinion that the music of the present is on a perpetual downward slide, and if you’re in that group I probably can’t change your opinion because that’s what you believe and feel is true. But I feel the current musical landscape is healthy, and for metal at least, continues to be fertile ground for untapped potential, overflowing with an abundance of new genre crossover acts and developing ever more subgenres at an alarming rate.

This seems to bother purists and others who find such mergers distasteful or (and sometimes I agree) formless and often lacking in a uniquely constructed identity. In spite of that, there will always be that divide between those who intake influence and only create weaker copies of their idols, and those who create something of their own out of what influences them.

What follows below is a hodgepodge of music, equal parts instrumental, kvltdisco, deathqueef, and post-prog. That’s obviously sarcasm, but upon coming up with the joking term post-prog, I thought to check Google and see if anyone else had used it in a serious way. Sadly, Google proved that I was not alone in using the term, and led me to a Last.fm article informing the world about what its contributors deem “post-prog” . As usual, nonsense reigns supreme and reality remains a divided house ruled by individual perspective, as it’s always been.

Feb 272014

Less than a week ago we featured the official video for a new song called “Filet Horizon” by a Danish instrumental duo named Fossils. Watching a technician laser-etch a band’s logo and album title onto a slab of beef jerky (thereby creating the album cover) isn’t exactly a common occurrence. The song proved to be uncommonly good, too. And now we get to share with you the entirety of Fossils’ forthcoming second album — Flesh Hammer.

When a band’s instrumental attack consists of bass and drums only, you expect something stripped down, and that’s true of Flesh Hammer up to a point. Wielding only those two rhythm-section weapons, Fossils do create skull-splitting grooves, but they also generate a storm of hornet-swarm riffs that veer from feedback-drenched cacophony to some seriously spine-shaking rock ‘n’ roll. It’s more than slightly unhinged — it’s rude, raving, and radioactive.

Feb 272014

I’m still being squeezed by my day job, with a road trip adding to the squeezing, but I do have the following four discoveries from yesterday that I’d like to toss your way.

IFING

Ifing is a two-man band consisting of Fritz Petersen and Tim Wicklund. They live in the wilds of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They named their band after the great river in Norse mythology that separates the realms of the gods from the giants. And if you think that may be the beginning of a clue to the music, you may be right.

They have recorded a debut album entitled Against the Weald, and it’s scheduled for release by the excellent Finnish label Blood Music on May 6.  Yesterday Terrorizer premiered a song from the album named “The Stream”. At more than 13 minutes in length, “The Stream” takes up almost half of Against This Weald‘s running time. I still thought it was too short.

Feb 272014

(We welcome back Professor D. Grover the XIIIth (ex-The Number of the Blog) with his comments on the music of four bands.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. In the time since my previous missive, I have weathered several storms in the grim and frostbitten lands of Northwestern Ohio, and I have also traveled to the warmer lands of Florida for an all-too brief week, experiencing the sort of time dilation that causes eight days to pass by in the span of four, thus ending my journey far sooner than I would have liked and thrusting me back into winter’s icy grasp. The relaxation was most welcome, though, and needed, as I have since thrown myself into my work, having taken but a single day off in the past two weeks, and coming off working 12-hour days the past three.

Still, I return bearing notations and observations on a quartet of musical acts from varying walks of life and schools of sound. The hope, as always, is to open your eyes and ears to something new. We begin.

Feb 262014

Here’s the second round-up of new music I promised earlier today. It doesn’t include everything I had originally planned to cover because… fucking day job… so I’ll try to shoe-horn the rest into a post tomorrow.

WHITECHAPEL

Metal Blade announced today that it will be releasing the fifth album by Tennessee’s Whitechapel on April 29 in NorthAm. The title is Our Endless War, and the cover art by Aaron Marsh (with a new logo) can be seen above. The band have described the album as one that includes “dashes of every record we have done so far mixed with the intensity of a new sound.” And they’ve also given us a first taste of what’s coming through a lyric video for a new song: “The Saw Is the Law”.

This track betrays the band’s death core roots in some respects, which could be a plus or a minus depending on your perspective. But it’s also a very heavy storm — a bludgeoning, howling hurricane loaded with interwoven cut-throat riffs, hammer-smashing grooves, and a dose of rapid-fire vox.

Feb 262014

(Right here, right now, DGR reviews the just-released debut album by Japan’s Babymetal.)

I don’t like Japanese idol music and J-pop. It’s probably one of my least favorite things out there. We often like to sit on our high horses and jaw all day about how all pop music sounds the same, how there are formulas and the artists are becoming so increasingly transparent that you can practically see the marketing department that put them together pulling the strings. Yet, Japan has been doing this for years with their pop music — consistently forming girl groups around gimmicks and novelty, as well as teaming them together in some unholy mish-mash whether they actually get along or not, singing talent aside. They’ve gotten very good at constructing groups and finding formulas and then hammering them into the ground. It’s everything I’ve despised about pop music, cranked up to eleven and made so obvious that you can’t even act like you’re being lied to. You like it because of those reasons. You know what you’re getting into from the get-go most of the time.

So when Babymetal were initially revealed — a combination of pop idol music and heavy metal, like a mad, unholy experiment consisting of throwing darts at a board to come up with another talent group to manage and grind into the ground, as if the girls weren’t human — the eye-roll was tremendous. And when the song “Doki Doki Morning” came out, the groans grew even louder. Yet, over time the group have morphed into something entirely different from the way they began, something that I’m not quite sure the management knows how to handle.

Feb 262014

Although the dreaded day job is impinging on my precious blog time for the next couple of days, I did have time last night and this morning for a fast breaststroke through the fetid waters of the interhole and the NCS inbox. When I came up for air, I had managed to snag some items of interest — so many, in fact, that I’ve divided them into two posts, this one being the first.

MISERY INDEX

According to a press release from Season of Mist, Misery Index (above) have finished recording their fifth album, which will be named The Killing Gods. It was recorded at Visceral Sound Studios with Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer). It will be released on May 27 in NorthAm (May 23 everywhere else, because… I don’t know why everywhere else gets it sooner). The album art has been finished, but it’s not yet available for public consumption.

“Highly anticipated” — I think that’s the appropriate cliched label for this album. In other words, I am high with anticipation. And anyone else who’s a fan of grindcore and/or death metal ought to be, too. Let’s have a little taste from their last studio album, shall we?

Feb 262014

(Guest writer, deluded NY Giants fan, and hard man to please KevinP rejoins us with the first installment of what may become a series.)

 2013 was a high water mark for metal releases. Seemingly it would be hard for 2014 to match up. But we are already off to a damn good start. Here’s a few things that have ‘wet my whistle’ so far.

MORBUS CHRONSWEVEN

After carving out their own identity as more than just a “Sweden meets Autopsy” via their A Saunter in the Shroud EP, I was pretty excited for their follow-up sophomore full-length. Much to my surprise, they’ve taken a left turn and kinda gone the route that Tribulation did with The Formulas of Death. A brave move by a young band that’s willing to take chances, stick its neck out, and not just be “another old school death metal band”.

Sweven is out now in Europe and will be released in North America on March 4 by Century Media.

Feb 252014

Well, for reasons previously explained, I thought we would only manage two posts for today, but this news item is quick to describe and easy to recommend: The French label Kaotoxin Records has just released a “pay what you want” sampler of music from the label’s artists entitled Weapons of Self-Dectruction, Volume 2 — and it’s a hell of a compilation. Check out the line-up of the 17 bands whose songs appear on the sampler:

Anal Penetration
Antropofago
C.O.A.G.
Colosus
Darkall Slaves
Department of Correction
Eye Of Solitude

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